New speaker cables recommendations sought


Im looking for speaker cables with the following characteristics: warm, musical, atmospheric, and affordable (used are ok).
My current system is delineated in my profile, for mixing & matching. All recommendations appreciated. Thank you.
teh_chucksta
I would say you are describing Cardas. Which model would depend on exactly the characteristics you want. I would recommend used… bring down the cost by half. I would think Clear Reflection would be what you are looking for. They are not cheap, but a good set of cables can be appropriate for several upgrades provided you do not change the whole paradigm of the system. I had the same set of Cardas in my system for 20 years, then got about 1/2 the new cost back when I traded them in. 

Budget?

Acoustic Zen would be worth looking at as well as Cardas.

Wireworld is more middle-of-the-road but inclining in the directions you mention.
look up van damme cables they say they are really good budget speakers. That don't cost nearly as much as budget cables but are used in high fancy places for their use. I dont know how much is true but look it up for yourself.
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@ghdprentice Thanks. Got saved searches on 2 DC’d models: Golden Cross & Ref.
@twoleftears Just auditioned AZ Satori cables. Didn’t like them, too…forceful?  I think you may be right about Cardas though.
Gold cross are really warm. I used a set for many years. Very warm.
Duelund  12 gauge or Western Electric 10 gauge speaker cables DIY. Warm and full bodied with big stage size.  Music presented with a nice sense of ease and natural flow.  Can be made for under $350 DIY..  I have made many dozens of these. 
@grannyring I read some of your comments in other discussions, wondering if the 16 gauge Duelund might be better suited. I think for the price, I might be more inclined towards DC’d Cardas cables…but thanks.
@audiowav I’d like to audition the van damme cables but there’s only 1 dealership in the US, and they don’t appear to offer much more the the blues. I created saved searches on Audiogon and eBay, maybe will get lucky there.
I would use the Duelund 12 gauge Polycast. Cost is low and they are even warmer than the cloth version.  Use bare wire for connections. Cost under $100.  
For branded cables be aware that some high current solid state amp designs can go into an oscillation state when used with speaker cables having a very high capacitance, which can result in damage to the internal circuits

I have witnessed this with Ayre and Gryphon amps when using the TOTL Cardas cables, such as the Clear and Clear Beyond cables.

Both amps had to be repaired and were out of commission for a couple of months.

Unfortunately, Cardas no longer posts the metrics for their cables.

Fortunately their lower level cables do not have the extreme levels of capacitance as the Clear (@ 278 pf pf/ft) and Clear Beyond.

Having said all of that, there are some people that report no problems with high end Cardas cables on high current solid state designs, but that does not mean their amps are NOT oscillating, it just means the threshold has not been exceeded. They could also be using very short cables

The oscillations occur above the audible spectrum, so there is no audible warning as to when the threshold is about to be breached.

Maybe something to be considered - Steve


Teh Chucksta - Try to send a message to this ebayer: 

lucasoundvision on eBay

I bought some van damm speaker cables from him. But i don't know why, but I just found out he seems to not be carrying them anymore in his store. Maybe you just need to hit him up and order from him. I bought a pair of Van Damme Hi-Fi Series LC-OFC 2x6mm Speaker Cables 2x3m -Terminated. Just tell him which ones you are after and he could probably make it, he makes them.

If you need van damm interconnects hit up: 

bc4brian on eBay
I recently moved to Cardas Clear Reflection with my Gryphon Diablo 300.  This was in similar pursuit of the  characteristics you state are the basis of your inquiry. Highly recommended, but even used they required about 75 hours to settle after being coiled up for shipment.  
@grannyring  suggested Zavfino OCC Nova cables. They look pretty good and I’m probably going to go for it.  Anyone else have experience with this product?

AZ Satori too “forceful?”  A cable too forceful???  I got nuthin’.  Best of luck. 
Ordered! $338/pair, free shipping.
@ghdprentice Cardas Golden Cross Speaker Cables (8.5 ft pair, banana-to-banana) just got listed on eBay, $1,389, used floor model. Starting bid @$919…but I went with the more affordable Zavfinos.
Zavfino Prima MKII. That’s what I have and I am very happy.

https://zavfinousa.com/collections/speaker-cables/products/prima-speaker-cable
About $600 for a 2.5 meter pair.

I used to own Cardas Clear Reflection a few years back. They were pretty good too, but I remember they were more expensive.

@thyname I appreciate you chiming in.  Optimist that I am, my search is over.
@drrsutliff Good info. I’ll listen to the new cables I just ordered as they burn in. Should be fun hearing the process. Thanks.
@audiowav I considered your recommendation but went another way…thanks though.
@williewonka Great post, completely unfamiliar with that phenomenon. Been using the NACA5 for over 10 years - dunno why, random choice? - and I wonder if my amps  experienced any oscillation effects? Hopefully the new cables will sort that possibility out.
@teh_chucksta - I first heard of this very problem when I purchased my NAIM amp. Naim had this phenom documented on their web site

NAIM designed the low capacitance NACA5 cables (16.5 pf/meter) for their amps, just to avoid this issue with their amps, so your amp(s) would not have experienced this problem.

The total capacitance of a cable generally has to be very high i.e. probably in excess of 2000pf - but the actual value depends the design of the amp and the length of the cables.

In many high end systems the cables can be quite short (e.g. 4-5 ft) so they may never cause this problem.

Most cables are have "middle of the road" values of capacitance so they are not an issue, but with the increase of very complex geometries, higher capacitance values may become more common.

E.G. Another cable to be "wary of" is Kimber 12TC which has a capacitance of 494 pF / meter - but this may only present problems for longer cables exceeding 20-25ft long. But their BIFOCAL-XL has a parallel capacitance: 600 pF / meter. The specs for the Select Series have not been published.

Similarly, the Cardas Clear cables use large numbers insulated conductors which increases the capacitance to pretty high levels of 278 pf pf/ft (or approx 900pf/meter), which for a 10 ft cables is 2780pf

By comparison, my own DIY cables are very low at 30pf/meter, well under the high values of either Kimber or Cardas and many others and very well suited to most amps.

But again, I stress this MAY ONLY apply to "some" high current solid state designs when longer cables are used.
That’s a lot of "IF’s" - but IF you are not aware of this it can cost a lot of money in repairs simply because the speaker cables selected were not "the best match" for the amplifier.

Also, very few technicians are aware of this, so you could have the amp repaired - only to have it fail again when you connect it back into your system. Certainly the technician I spoke to, that repaired the amps for my friend was amazed when I told him about it.

Regards - Steve


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Worked part time a store some years ago.  With time on my hands I set up 4 identical CD players to the same system. Only difference the interconnects between the amp and CD players. No-one could tell the difference ( in sound quality) between $50 and $500 cable.
@jahjahsound   The Zavfino OCC Nova cables ($350) I ordered should arrive soon. If they don’t please, I’ll be sure to try the van dammes since you’re the second person to recommend them. Also read reviews comparing them to more prominent cables which makes me believe you more. Thanks!
@henry53 That’s good to know bc this upgrade phase is burning a hole in my pocket!
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There is no such thing as a "warm", "musical" wire. As for "atmospheric", I do not even understand what it means....listening under the rain perhaps ?

Let me correct myself. You can indeed get warm wires if you pump excessive current through a wire not rated for it :-)

You guys really should really read the following:
https://sound-au.com/articles/myths.html

Do not skip sections, read it in its entirety, I will give you an exam on it sometime in the future and I expect everyone to get a passing mark :-)

Nobody gives a flying frack to what you say or link. You seem to be full of yourself.
Well, I make cables all the time. All manner of cables. Some recipes sound warmer. Some sound more detailed. Some darker and some more brilliant. I can change the tone, openness, resolution and warmth by conductor material, connector brand, dielectric material, geometry and shielding or lack of it. You could not possibly be more wrong @cakyol.

You should take the time to build, re-build and listen for yourself instead of speculating based on some notions.
None of it matters in audio frequencies. About 80% of what is written here is pure delusion.  
Again, read the article well.  It will enlighten the delusioned. 
I see. You’re not interested in learning for yourself. I did more than read, I actually learned through hours and hours of actual experience.  The good news is you can still enjoy music with the cables you happen to use! Have fun.
The foock?  A lot of thoughtful, generous people in this thread. Sadly, not all. 
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Teh_chuksta. I am trying to save you some money that is all. Unless you are operating in the megahertz frequencies or running wires longer than 100s of feet, any standard typical multi strand copper wire rated for the correct current, costing no more than a few bucks will do. 
Just do not tightly coil them, keep them straight and away from signal wires. 
The rest is just illusion and delusion.
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You should have led with that. Have a good one.
I had a spectral system for years so I was married to mit/spectral for decades.   Recently put together a 2 channel system and had no intentions on spending big bucks on speaker wire.
I auditioned a combination dac/integrated/ speaker combo that was musical magic and bought all the components.  Didn’t want to risk any part of the chain not keeping the sq.  It was wireworld 7 copper.  Way over my budget but buying the system allowed for discounts. Whether their is a better or less expensive solution I don’t know but they are here to stay
The Wireworld Eclipse8 have great balance 6-9s Copper 
very low patented dielectric, silver over pure ofc Copper connectors ,most are cheap gold plated brass.
@jimob @tennisdoc56  Thanks guys, I’ll put it on the list. 
Check out Signal Cables and talk to Frank. Straight shooter that builds a quality product at a very fair price and no magic wire voodoo.
$149/pair. Can’t beat that. I already ordered the Zavfino OCC Nova cables ($350) but if they don’t pan out…
Well, I make cables all the time. All manner of cables. Some recipes sound warmer. Some sound more detailed. Some darker and some more brilliant. I can change the tone, openness, resolution and warmth by conductor material, connector brand, dielectric material, geometry and shielding or lack of it. You could not possibly be more wrong @cakyol. 

Does the observed sound correlate with capacitance and inductance of the cable? Or is it more like a cook it, taste it, and adjust the recipe?
Both. I think more so by the way you cook it, but if specs on capacitance and inductance get somewhat extreme, then that will certainly correlate more to the observed sound.  However, for most cabling it is the way you “cook it” as you say. 
You can pick up a used set of Audience AU24 or AU24SE. When I had B&W N803 I had good results with AZ Hologram, Satori, Audience AU24 and Purist Aqueous. They were all bi-wire cables. If you’re using regular runs make sure to connect the speaker cables to the top set of binding posts. 
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